Sunday, March 23, 2014

Player 1 Video Game Bar

Once, when Amanda Chadwick returned to Orlando, she invited friends to the Player 1 Video Game Bar (8562 Palm Pkwy, Orlando, FL) for a night out. I became obsessed with the ancient Star Wars Vdeo Game. I flew down the trench of the Death Star multiple times until I was able to destroy it with a single proton torpedo blast down an exhaust port. I had played this game as a teen and getting back in the cockpit of an X-Wing Fighter was just like riding a bicycle. All the killer instincts come right back. Terry tried the game after me, but she just didn't have a knack for dodging the Death Stars defenses. I shouted at her to watch out for the cannons firing from the gun turrets. Even with my coaching, she kept getting shot down. She had much better instincts for Pac Man.

I returned to the bar to sketch on another day.  Player 1 is billed as the ultimate video game lounge experience! After four decades of Video Gaming a few things are clear to the owners:
Arcade games must be played in their original format- joysticks, buttons, and a lo-rez TV screen in a big custom cabinet! Playing online has it’s drawbacks, nothing beats playing against opponents sitting across the room. Video Games deserve a place to celebrate the art and history of the #1 form of entertainment in the world. Beer is king…ales to lagers and everything in between!

There was a cover to get in, but Disney employees get a discount. Luckily I was wearing my John Henry Disney Crew Jacket, so I scored the discount. I ordered a beer and got to work. It was early in the evening and the bar was deserted. The place is located in a strip mall just beyond Disney property, so it is a trek for most locals. I'm not certain tourists would know how to find it. One guy sat at the bar fingering a joy stick as he watched the game play above the bar. The beer taps were surrounded by video game themed action figures and memorabilia. Since I work in a University that is helping teach the next generation of game designers, I can understand the appeal of Player 1. I decided to leave the Death Star in peace and I left when the sketch was done.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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